Origin of the Lion City
In the 13th-century Malay Annals, Sang Nila Utama, a prince from Palembang was shipwrecked and washed ashore to an island. There he saw a creature which he believed was a lion. Taking it to be a good sign, he founded a city, naming it "The Lion City" or Singapura, from the Sanskrit words “simha” (lion) and “pura” (city).
Unique is the word that best captures Singapore, a dynamic city rich in contrast and color where you’ll find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture. Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry. Located in the heart of fascinating Southeast Asia, Singapore is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines. Brimming with unbridled energy and bursting with exciting events, the city offers countless unique, memorable experiences waiting to be discovered.
Singapore named Lonely Planet’s No 1 country for travel in 2015. – The Straits Times, 21 October 2014
Global travel company Lonely Planet has named Singapore the world’s number one country to travel next year. In its latest guidebook, Best in Travel 2015, published on Tuesday, Lonely Planet noted that multicultural Singapore is “always celebrating something” and has more reason to next year when it turns 50. The book said “a slew of new developments has elevated the ’Singapore experience’ to a new level”, from Marina Bay to “a new crop of swanky hotels”.
Key Information at a Glance
Singapore is known for its hot and humid weather, with little variation throughout the year. The average daytime temperature is 31°C (88°F), dropping to around 24°C (75°F) in the evenings
There are about 5.3 million people on the island. Today, the ethnic Chinese form 74.2% of the Singaporean population, with the country’s original inhabitants, the Malays, comprising 13.3%. The Indians make up 9.2%, and Eurasians and Asians of different origins making up a combined 3.3%. Singapore is also home to many expatriates coming from countries as diverse as North America, Australia, Europe, China, Japan and India.
English is the main working language in Singapore. Other official languages used are Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
Getting Around – Getting around Singapore is fairly easy: the public transportation system (MRT, LRT and buses) is relatively easy to use and taxis are reasonably priced when you can get one. Getting into Singapore – Most people arrive in Singapore by air. Its status as a major airline hub in Asia makes Singapore a natural starting or ending point for a multi-country tour of Southeast Asia. Most large international airlines have routes to Singapore, in addition to the island’s own highly regarded airline, Singapore Airlines.
The currency used in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (S$). Money changing services can be found not only at the Singapore Changi Airport but also most shopping centres and hotels around the island. You can also access the automated teller machines (ATMs) located everywhere in Singapore, that accept most of the main credit cards such as Visa, Master Card and American Express
Most foreigners coming into Singapore do not require visas for entry and may be given social visit passes for up to 30 days upon their arrival in Singapore. However, it is best to consult your local consular office for the latest information with regards to coming into Singapore. If you would like to stay in Singapore for a longer period, you may apply to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) upon your arrival. You should have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity, onward or return tickets, onward facilities (such as visas or entry permits) to your next destination, and of course, sufficient funds for your stay in Singapore
Singapore uses the “Type G” (British 3-pin rectangular blade) electrical plug. Voltage is 230V, 50Hz.
Singapore is consequently a cosmopolitan place where people from all over the world sit down to enjoy each other’s cooking. Each culture has brought with it unique cooking styles including Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Peranakan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and Korean. There is a vast array of hawker stalls and restaurants, ranging from global franchises to gourmet delis to fancy six-star settings.
Orchard Road would be the most popular and most commonly heard names if anyone should mention about shopping. This place is the central hub, also known as the “city” of Singapore, and it is well known among tourists. Orchard Road offers major departmental stores, supermarkets, movie theatres, restaurants, famous hotels and other entertainment outlets.
Cell Phone Usage
Singapore’s international dialing code is +(65). While in Singapore and if you have international roaming service on your cell phone, you don’t have to press +(65) as it will automatically connect you to the local numbers here.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Conference Secretariat (65) 6748 3556
Online Web & Conference Mgnt. System (65) 6492 1137
Emergency/Medical Police 999 (toll-free)
Ambulance 995 (toll-free) 1777 (non-emergency)
Flight Information 1800 542 4422
Singapore Immigration Department (65) 6391 6100
Singapore Tourism Board 24hrs Touristline 1800 736 2000
Global Refund Singapore (GST Refund) (65) 6225 6238
Dial-A-Cab (65) 6342 5222
CityCab (65) 6552 1111
Comfort Taxi (65) 6552 1111
SMRT Taxis (65) 6555 8888
SMART Cabs (65) 6485 7777
TransCab (65) 6555 3333
Premier Taxis (65) 6363 6888
Prime Taxi (65) 6778 0808
Yellow-Top Taxi (65) 6293 5545
American Express 1800-296-0220
Visa Global Customer Assistance 800-4481-250
MasterCard Global Service 800-1100-113
Diners Club (65) 6292 7566
For addresses and telephone numbers of airlines, banks, hotels and other essential services, the Yellow Pages is recommended. Or try City Search at 1900-777-7777 (Each call is charged at $0.50).
Norwegian Trade Council (65) 6222 1316
Australia (65) 6836 4100
Japan (65) 6235 8855
Korea (65) 6256 1188
New Zealand (65) 6235 9966
USA (65) 6476 9100
The majority of foreign missions observe normal working hours of 9am to 5pm, though it is not out of the ordinary to find some embassies working only in the morning or having shorter opening hours, especially with regards to visa applications. Almost all the embassies are closed on Saturdays. It is therefore recommended that you telephone ahead to check the office hours before visiting.
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